Socastee held serve.
St. James went on the road and took care of business.
Now the areas two standout wrestling teams are set to go head-to-head again, this time with a trip to the state finals on the line.
The Braves defeated Hilton Head 52-9 at home on Monday night and the Sharks topped Swansea 35-29 on the road to set up a rematch of the Region VII-AAA championship in the Lower State finals Wednesday night at Socastee.
Its going to be tough, said St. James coach Matt Anderson, whose team lost 39-28 to the Braves in the region championship a week ago. Win or lose in that match, its going to be fun. If we wrestle like we should, we can scrap out a win. It will be a hard-fought, tough match. Typically the guys with the most heart, things go their way. Lord willing, well get a chance to go to state.
It wasnt easy for the Sharks on Monday, though. St. James had to fight in every match before clinching the outcome as the action wound down.
It was heated, Anderson said. There werent many falls in the match.
Socastee, meanwhile, had one of its strongest showings of the year, easily dispatching the Seahawks.
Tonights match was a good match for us, Braves coach Jeff Gibbins said. We ended up on the good side of a pretty lopsided victory. It was probably first time we put our whole team on the mat. We got some good quality wins early. We had a lot of big wins where we turned minor victories into major victories to send momentum into the next bout.
And the next match, for that matter. Gibbins said he isnt planning any surprises for the Sharks on Wednesday, should weather allow the match to go on as planned at 6 p.m.
I dont think we plan to do anything different. I think were a little more sharper coming off big win tonight, he said. Were going to wrestle straight up. Theyve said they plan to wrestle straight up. Theyve got to beat us. Thats kind of the attitude were taking.
Either way, a team from Region VII-AAA will be representing the Lower State in the state finals Saturday.
Its a great thing for our region, Gibbins said. We had three of our four teams in the playoffs win in the first round. Two of three went into the third round, out of the third round and into the Lower State finals. That says a lot for wrestling in our area.
Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295.